Interview with Sir Michael Parkinson

We caught up with Sir Michael Parkinson ahead of An Evening with Michael Parkinson showing here on Saturday 22 June.

Here we find out who his first ever interview was and why he was banned from performing on stage at Yvonne Arnaud in the 70s.

Hi Michael! You are an iconic interviewer, do you remember your first ever interview?

I do, it was a man called Norman Bone who was from South Yorkshire. It was just after the war and everyone was trying to find a job and Norman made glass baubles. It was fascinating. I wrote the interview as an essay and it was published in my school magazine.

What has been your favourite interview to date and why?

I’ve interviewed over 2,000 people so I can’t pick a favourite but one of my most memorable interviews was with academic, Jacob Bronowski, who lost many of his family members at Auschwitz. I really enjoyed interviewing Billy Connelly - he’s a wonderful friend and great guest and I have been lucky enough to interview many other fascinating people, including David Attenborough and Nelson Mandela.

What is the secret behind your success?

Luck – I have been very lucky. I’m also a very good listener and I do the research required before I interview. It has been the perfect job.

How does it feel to be the interviewee?

I enjoy it, I like talking about myself. My one-man show was tough, this show came at the right time, it has given me an extended life on stage.

What can the audience expect from your show?

It’s about me and my life – on and off the screen. I had an extraordinary father with a great sense of humour. I’ve a long marriage – my wife is a very patient person; three children who are lovely and doing well; and eight grandchildren, all of whom I see regularly. I am a very lucky person. There are also clips from my talk show too.

We always hear about extravagant riders, what do you request on yours?

I order it all – curly toe shoes, the works. In all seriousness, I don’t have an extravagant rider but some of my guests have, mainly Hollywood film stars who requested their dressing rooms be painted white and then there are their extravagant entourages too. Madonna’s entourage was like catering for a football team.

You have played on the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre stage before…

I have. I was sharing the role of the narrator in the musical revue Side By Side but it turned into a fiasco. I had performed the London dates and was two shows in at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre when Equity said I could no longer take part as I only had a NUJ card, not an Equity card. It’s such a shame, I loved the show.

I’m looking forward to returning to the famous Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and performing to a full house of people who are on a night out.